I seldom feel alone, though I can feel out of place at times. My biggest struggle with most f2f meetings is saying/hearing anything worthwhile. I can be glib on short notice, but to say something thoughtful takes time, at least for me. And it’s one reason that I like the asynchronous, extended times of MOOCs. It gives me time to think though an issue after I’ve listened and before I feel compelled to speak.
But I am particularly interested in your comments about how ones sense of belonging or not belonging to a group changes between online and f2f. I’m writing a post now about dialogue, especially as a pedagogical strategy, and the differences between the two worlds is important, I think. You seem to suggest some advantages for online connections. Are the advantages because of the affordances online, because of reduced risks, both, or something else?